Floaters and Flashes

Why do I see floaters or flashers?

Be Eye Wise and learn that floaters are tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the clear jelly-like fluid that fills your eye. You may sometimes see them moving in your field of vision. What you’re actually seeing are the shadows these clumps cast on your retina (the nerve layer at the back of your eye that senses light and allows you to see). Floaters have different shapes – little dots, circles, lines, clouds or cobwebs.


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Symptoms of floaters can be:

  • Moving “fluid,” “gnats” or “cobwebs” in your field of vision.

Causes of floaters can be:

  • Middle age.
  • Nearsighted.
  • Past cataract operations.
  • Past YAG laser surgery of the eye.
  • Past inflammation inside the eye.


Why am I experiencing eye flashes?

Be Eye Wise and know that flashes occur when the jelly-like fluid inside your eye shrinks and tugs on the retina. It creates a sensation of flashing lights that can appear off and on for several weeks or months. You may have experienced this same sensation if you have ever been hit in the eye and seen “stars.” As we grow older, it is more common to experience eye flashes. If you notice the sudden appearance of light flashes, contact us immediately to see if the retina has been torn.

Symptoms of flashes can be:

  • You see sudden flashes of light.
  • Loss of your peripheral vision.
  • Flashes of light that appear as “heat waves” lasting 10-20 minutes.

Treatment of floaters and flashes:

Floaters and flashes of light become more common as we grow older. While not all floaters and flashes are serious, a medical eye examination by our ophthalmologists will make sure there has been no damage to your retina.

To learn all you can about floaters and eye flashes, please schedule an appointment with a Northwest Eye Clinic doctor. Because the more you know, the better you see.